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Hamilton County has a childcare crisis

To the Editor:

“Good morning, I would like to put my two children on your wait list for childcare.”

Daycare provider: “Okay great, I will need to get some basic information from you, but first I would like to let you know that it is between a 3-5 year wait list.”

My two children are on almost every wait list for in-home and daycare centers in Webster City. What does this mean? Hamilton County and surrounding areas are facing a childcare crisis.

I am Melody Haman, Iowa State University College of Business graduate, Human Resources for First State Bank, mother of two young children and faced with an on-going quandary of finding consistent daycare due to the countywide/nationwide childcare crisis.

For a period of time we found ourselves driving to Blairsburg, IA twice a day for the closest available childcare provider around Webster City and in the upcoming weeks, we will be traveling to Williams, IA for daycare. 40 minutes. 40 minutes of our morning, before we arrive to work will be spent travelling. I am very grateful to work for an employer who is flexible and supportive while I navigate being a working mother and the challenges of finding daycare.

Approximately 50 percent of the child care centers in Iowa have closed since Jan. 1, 2020. Let’s not let that happen in Hamilton County. Parents and employers of Hamilton County are asking for the community’s support to solve this childcare funding crisis.

How do we overcome this? Hamilton County, let’s bring back the United Fund. For 60 years, Hamilton County came together to raise money for our child care centers as well as other nonprofit organizations in need of assistance. For the last 10 years, this annual fundraising event has not been held due to the lack of volunteers. It is time again to have an easy way for area residents to make annual donations and I am eager to help accomplish this.

Lastly, I would like to thank the local school districts for their assistance with the Stratford Early Learning Center and the Mighty Trojan Child Care in Blairsburg, and for the City of Webster City’s forgiveness of the loan interest last year on the loans to Riverview and WC Day Care. Their support is greatly appreciated.

Melody Haman

Webster City

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